PHSA: Serving community for more than five decades
Sam Shemaka of Penn Hills officially retired in 1993, but he's been pretty busy ever since.
For roughly the past 15 years, Shemaka, 82, has volunteered at the Penn Hills Service Association, a nonprofit group based in the Universal neighborhood that has been providing food, clothing and other supplies to Penn Hills residents for more than five decades.
“I wanted to do something besides become a couch potato,” Shemaka said.
“Everyone here is a volunteer, and the amazing thing is that some of them are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, and they still come and help out.”
Run by director Ed Hoover, the service association operates a daily food pantry, collects clothing and even has a convalescent aid department that loans out medical supplies such as wheelchairs and crutches.
Shemaka helps by packing food boxes every day.
Hoover estimated that the association serves between 50 and 60 families each week.
“For Christmas, in addition to the food boxes, we also give families with children a gift card so they can buy presents for Christmas,” Hoover said.
“We also have a table of donated toys, and families can pick from them, even though we don't always have the greatest selection.”
And nothing goes to waste. Unused clothing donations are sent to St. Vincent de Paul as well as a group based in West Virginia which redistributes it to needy families.
Shemaka said the work Hoover has done sets the bar for other volunteers.
“Ed inspires everybody,” he said, adding that the number of donations reminds him what a giving community Penn Hills can be.
“It overwhelms me the amount of food that local churches donate to us,” Shemaka said.
“A car pulls up and you can see how excited they are to drop if off. It's unreal how this township, when they're called on, can really step up.”
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.